Akasofu Building

2160 Koyukuk Drive

Akasofu Building
UAF photos by Sierra Coley

The five-story 100,000-square-foot building, which sits on the northwest corner of West Ridge, opened in 1999. The building houses the International Arctic Research Center and other UAF departments, as well as offices for the National Weather Service and the 60,000-volume Keith B. Mather Library.

In May 1997, the governments of the United States and Japan, along with the state of Alaska, agreed to establish a research center on the UAF campus as a project of the Common Agenda approved by President Clinton and Japan’s Prime Minister Hashimoto. The Common Agenda proposed that both countries cooperate to research  global climate change, including collaboration at research centers in Alaska and Hawaii. An agreement between the National Science Foundation and UAF’s IARC took effect in May 2000.

The research center’s primary goals are to study Arctic climate change and the global consequences of those changes and to plan and carry out cooperative international Arctic research of the highest possible quality. IARC serves as a focal point of excellence for international collaboration and provides the research community with an unprecedented opportunity to share knowledge about science in the Arctic.

The building is named in honor of IARC’s founder, Syun-Ichi Akasofu. A dedication ceremony took place April 27, 2007. Akasofu received his Ph.D. from UAF in 1961 and was a professor of geophysics from 1964 until his retirement in 2007. He served as the director of the Geophysical Institute from 1986–1999 and helped to establish the Alaska Volcano Observatory and modernize the Poker Flat Research Range. He is most widely known for his body of work in auroral studies and global climate change, and for his role in establishing IARC.   

Self-guided tour: International Arctic Research Center